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Kings of the Kenai River

Season was good enough for some lucky anglers

Posted: Friday, August 03, 2007

 

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  Spero Stefanopoulos, of California, holds up a 73-pound Kenai River king salmon caught July 13 while fishing with Leonard Ball of Leonard's Last Frontier Fishing Adventures. Photo courtesy of Leonard Ball

Spero Stefanopoulos, of California, holds up a 73-pound Kenai River king salmon caught July 13 while fishing with Leonard Ball of Leonard's Last Frontier Fishing Adventures.

Photo courtesy of Leonard Ball

While sometimes is can be difficult to get information out of a Kenai River fishing guide, lest they give up an advantage, many were forthcoming in their estimates of this year's king fishing season: not too bad.

"I'd say it was pretty good overall," said Leonard Ball of Leonard's Last Frontier Fishing Adventure.

Ball said the season was a little unusual, though, in that is started out hot, then got ice cold, then was followed by a good week of fishing, but with the fish being relatively small.

"I caught more fish under 30 pounds (during the week of July 17th), than in any other one season. I was joking they had been crossed with sockeye," Ball said.

Toward the end of the season it all leveled out with large fish and many of them, Ball said. He also had a few lunkers show up midseason, including one colossal-sized king landed by Spero Stefanopoulos of California during the second week of July.

"Friday, July 13th, 2007 became an unusually lucky day for me," Stefanopoulos said of a fishing trip taken with friends Arnie Schmidt and Mario Saravia,

Due to the date, Stefanopoulos said he felt like something big was going to happen. It did not long after their 6 a.m. departure.

"Within a half hour or so, Saravia grabbed ahold of his fishing rod realizing that there was something on the other end. After an intense yet short battle with the king, he landed what turned out to be a beautiful fish weighing about 52 pounds," he said.

Stefanopoulos thought this may have been the fish that got his sixth sense tingling, but around 11 a.m. he saw his rod tip aim toward the water and seconds later a monstrous fish leapt all the way out of the water.

 

Eric Whalen of, Las Vegas, and guide Skyler Coad of Skyler's Kingriver Charters stand near a 55-pound king Whalen landed on July 13.

Photo courtesy of Skyler Coad

"Because of the distance at the time, it was difficult to determine really how big this guy was," he said.

After a brief battle, he boated the behemoth, and it ended up weighing 73 pounds.

"That was our biggest fish of the year. Definitely no complaints there," Ball said.

Friday the 13th also was lucky for another angler, Eric Whalen of Las Vegas, who was fishing with guide Skyler Coad of Skyler's Kingriver Charters.

"It was taken in the lower Kenai River at Steve's Hole, and it weighed in at 55 pounds and was 51 inches in length," Coad said.

"It was one of many that size we had in the boat this season. We probably had half a dozen in he 55-inch range," he said.

Coad said he did pretty good overall this year.

"I averaged a couple of fish a day, so I had a lot of happy people," he said.

Don Johnson, of Johnson Brothers guide service, said the season seemed about average to him.

"It's hard to put it all together. Fish and Game thought it was better because of the fish numbers, but the fishing was pretty normal," he said.

 

Mitch Lacomb of Colorado hefts up a king, estimated to weigh in the 70- to 71-pound range, that he caught on the last day of the season while fishing with Don Johnson of Johnson Brothers Guide Service.

Photo courtesy of Don Johnson

Johnson said while he stayed busy all season, he couldn't stay busy enough to meet the demand of numerous eager anglers. In his opinion, there weren't enough guides on the water to meet this demand.

"I don't know what the total numbers were, but I subcontracted out a lot of people that wanted t ogo fish and turned a bunch of people away, too," he said.

Johnson said those that did make into the boat did pretty well, and the season ended with a bang.

"Mitch Lacomb of Colorado caught a king that was in the 70 to 71 pound area, and in the 51 to 53 inch range. he hooked it at Slide Hole and landed it at Big Eddy. It was the biggest fish of the season, so it was a good last day," he said.

Joseph Robertia can be reached at joseph.robertia@peninsulaclarion.com.



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